1st Community Appreciation Parade fails to break world record but riders raise $10k for N.H. Boys & Girls Clubs

LOUDON — Over 300 motorcyclists turned out Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a fundraising ride to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Hampshire.
The Community Appreciation Parade event, billed as an attempt to set a new Guinness World's Record for the most money raised in a 24-hour period for a charity in a motorcycle parade, fell far short of the lofty $76,037 goal, raising a little less than $10,000 according to E.J. Powers, spokesperson for the first-time event.
People from all parts of the state showed up for the event, including Dwight Barton, a Laconia businessman who is a former chairman of the Laconia Area Community Land Trust.
''It's a great event supporting a good charity,'' said Barton as he signed his registration form with Nina Card of Nashua, a volunteer with the Derry Boys and Girls Club.
''It's a good day to ride with my brethren,'' said Barton, a long-time motorcycle rider.
Chester Porter of New Durham, who was wearing a leather jacket which indicated he was a member of the Claude Batchelder Post 72, American Legion of Alton, said that he decided to ride in the event in part because he wanted to see what it was like to ride the 1.6 mile road racing course at the Speedway.
''I like to be involved with charity events. That's why I joined the Legion. But getting out on the motorcycle race course is special,'' said Porter, who served four years with the 14h Infantry Division and is now employed as an electronics technician.
Mike Gagne of Barrington, said that he and his riding companion, Gale Colbeth, also of Barrington, like to do charity rides and were looking forward to a fun day on the 32-mile ride, which ended up at the Police Motorcycle Museum in Meredith.
Ed Barkowski of Boston, Mass., who owns a summer home on a lake in East Andover, said that he has always been a supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs and was happy to take part. He was with a contingent of bikers from Andover which included Jake Johnson, Erin Maneely and Jeff and Kathy Sweet, who said that they take part in many rides during the course of a year in support of children's charities.
Maarten Denhartog of Meredith, president of the Winnipesaukee Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) Chapter, arrived carrying the group's banner and said that he would be riding right up front behind the State Police escort with the flag and with the $150 per ticket VIP riders.
''We had a good turnout from our chapter. Bikers usually like to do a lot of charity rides,'' said Denhatog, who is an EMT-life guard.
He said that the H.O.G. chapter is deeply involved in fund raisers for good causes and has a lot of generous members. ''Some of the nicest people you'll ever meet ride bikes,'' he said.
Harvey DeWees of Sanbornton, who retired last year as a pharmacist with CVS, said he's always up for a ride for charity. It was his second straight weekend at a charity ride. The previous Saturday he took part in the annual Peter Makris Ride around Lake Winnipesaukee, an event he has only missed once in its seven-year history.
DeWees, who also was a long-time local baseball umpire, said he was the witness to two memorable Red Sox games, having been in Baltimore in April of 2001 when Hideo Nomo pitched a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, and in Kansas City in April of 2007 when Dice-K Matsuzaka made his major league debut with a victory over the Kansas City Royals.
''I'm having fun here today. It's a great day for a ride and a really good cause,'' said DeWees.
The parade from Loudon to Meredith was jointly sponosred by the speedway and Laconia Harley-Davidson, which also raffled off a custom Street Glide model motorcycle to raise $30,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region.

CAPTIONS:

Dwight Barton of Laconia signs in with Nina Card of the Derry Boys and Girls Club at a fundraising ride for the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Hampshire at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Mike Gagne and Gale Colbeth, both of Barrington, took part in a fundraising ride for the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Hampshire at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Harvey DeWees, Sanbornton, retired CVS pharmacist, took part in a fundraising ride for the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Hampshire at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)